Racism. Something which I would hardly think of when I am dealing with people. So whenever people would ask me “Where are you from?” I would reply where am I from and just leave it at that. I hardly pay any heed to the subtle hints of racism because I do not have time for it. However after listening to at least 6 people speak about the same issue I realize that maybe I should be paying more attention.
After seeing an event on Facebook about a spoken word/poetry event, I decided to go for it. I like writing, I like poetry and I am a fan of spoken poetry. I knew the topic is not a simple one and from what I heard from the speakers I realized how unaware am I about the extent.
The bar couldn’t have been shadier. Honestly, they took underground groups too literally and they had more than 100 people gathered in such a small place. The next door rock band overpowered the speakers completely and I couldn’t make out more than a syllable or two in the first half of the event. However the next half, I sat up front and listened. I was so into it that I forgot to click photos, forgot almost everything and just absorbed.
I heard a girl try to explain and fail, try again and still get all messed up in explaining where she is from: Chinese or Kiwi. I heard a guy talk about what it was like being White after being born in a Maori family. Heard an open letter, not to White people, but to Koreans. Heard two poems from an Australian Maori girl.
Maybe I am missing some of the poems. Even more likely I am actually not doing justice to what I heard. Because I simply cannot; I am not perceptible enough of the surroundings, I don’t think along the lines as the speakers can think. Because their words moved, their experiences made me recall all the months and think: was that racism?
While I may not know which end of the spectrum I exist on, I am surely one of those ‘unawares’ the speakers spoke of. And from what I heard, I cannot help but applaud the speakers and their courage. And learn and absorb whatever I can, from their experiences, from their words and their strengths.